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Niche Games to Watch in 2021: Strategy Games

Starship Troopers - Terran Command

Last time, I highlighted a selection of the most interesting RPGs set to release in 2021. We have also covered shooters, and will cover more in the future.

Today, I’ll be covering some of the strategy games coming our way throughout the year. As with the previous articles, I’ll mostly be focusing on indie or middleware games as opposed to really big budget AAA titles.

Regardless of if you prefer real-time or turn-based, small scale or grand strategy, you are bound to find at least a few games here that might catch your attention.

Here are Niche Gamer’s selection of 20 of the most promising strategy games releasing in 2021:


Task Force Admiral – Vol.1: American Carrier Battles
Developer: Drydock Dreams Games
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Task Force Admiral - Vol.1: American Carrier Battles

Old school PC gamers are no doubt excited to see that MicroProse has risen from the ashes, and they are here to publish the kind of strategy and sim games they were most renown for in the ’90s.

Task Force Admiral – Vol. 1: American Carrier Battles is one such real-time strategy sim, and allows players to command a US Navy carrier task force in 1942. The game will feature over 30 historic and hypothetical scenarios, as well as around 90 different ships and 40 aircraft.

 

Carrier Command 2
Developer: Geometa
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Spring 2021

Carrier Command 2

If you rather direct carrier strike groups from the near future, MicroProse has you covered with Carrier Command 2. Much like its predecessors, Carrier Command 2 is a mixture of RTS and vehicle sim, allowing you to issue orders to your units from the command room of your carrier, or directly control them yourself.

Your carrier contains a small fleet of futuristic UAVs, combat drones, and amphibious armored fighting vehicles; allowing you to take on land, sea, and air missions.

 

Sea Power : Naval Combat in the Missile Age
Developer: Triassic Games AB
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Sea Power : Naval Combat in the Missile Age

From the battlefields of the near future, to the theoretical conflicts of the recent past, MicroProse truly has strategy gamers covered this year.

Sea Power : Naval Combat in the Missile Age allows you to command naval strike groups from NATO and the Warsaw Pact in both historic and theoretical scenarios from the ’60s through the ’80s. Theatres include such strategic hot spots as the North Atlantic, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, and Gulf of Tonkin. There are also dozens of realistically modeled ships and aircraft from the Cold War.

 

Regiments
Developer: Bird’s Eye Games
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Spring 2021

Regiments

If naval warfare isn’t your thing, then maybe you’ll be more interested in Regiments. Much like the previous game on the list, Regiments deals with a theoretical conflict between East and West, but focuses on what might have happened if Soviet tanks poured into Western Germany across the Fulda Gap.

The game is set in 1989, and like the other MicroProse games coming this year, features over 60 accurately recreated NATO and Soviet vehicles.

 

Second Front
Developer: Hexdraw
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Second Front

This is the last MicroProse game on the list, I promise. Second Front is a hex-based WWII wargame that seeks to strike a good balance between accessibility and strategic depth. The game features hundreds of historic units and vehicles used by America, Germany, and Russia during the war; and the modular nature of the maps and scenarios means that players can easily create and share custom levels.

 

Field of Glory II: Medieval
Developer: Byzantine Games 
Publisher: Slitherine
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: February 4th, 2021  

Field of Glory II: Medieval

Not to be outdone by a newly resurgent MicroProse, prolific strategy publisher Slitherine has some promising games coming this year as well.

Field of Glory II: Medieval brings the strategy wargame series to the High Middle Ages for the first time. The game features dozens of real and hypothetical scenarios based on wars across Europe from 1040 AD to 1270 AD, along with 29 playable nations and over 100 units.

 

Starship Troopers – Terran Command
Developer: The Aristocrats
Publisher: Slitherine
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Starship Troopers - Terran Command

Starship Troopers – Terran Command is a real-time tactics game set alongside the events of the first Starship Troopers movie. Lead the Mobile Infantry in the campaign to defend the mining world Kwalasha from the Arachnid menace. You’ll need to make use of strategic choke points and defensive positions to overcome the Bugs and their endless numbers.

As the campaign progresses, you’ll gain access to fan-favorite units and technologies; like the Marauder mechs, and TAC Fighter bombardments.

 

Xenonauts 2
Developer: Goldhawk Interactive
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Xenonauts 2

Another game about defending humanity from an overwhelming alien threat is Xenonauts 2. This sequel to the cult hit from 2014 is more of a reboot than a direct continuation, taking into account all of the fan feedback and the developer’s expanded level of experience and resources to create the game they wanted to the first time around.

As with its predecessor, Xenonauts 2 aims to be a return to the old school feel and mechanics of the original X-COM games, as opposed to the more streamlined Firaxis reboots.

 

Book of Aliens
Developer: Thing Trunk
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Book of Aliens

Book of Aliens is the next full game in Thing Trunk’s Book of series, which is all about creating easily accessible new spins on classic games and genres. While Book of Demons was a new, card-driven twist on the Diablo formula, Book of Aliens hopes to be a unique take on X-COM.

Like the developer’s other games, this means card-based mechanics, procedurally generated levels, roguelite-inspired concepts, and a colorful papercraft art style.

 

Project Haven
Developer: Foresight Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Project Haven

Another XCOM-style strategy game coming this year is Project Haven. The game is set in a dystopian future, where humanity is largely confined to Haven City, the last habitable city on Earth.

Assemble a gang of hardened mercenaries and accept contracts across the city. Use your funds to upgrade your mercenaries, and customize their guns with attachments and different ammo types. The game’s combat system also features locational damage, allowing you to cripple enemies with leg or arm shots.

 

Stronghold: Warlords
Developer: FireFly Studios
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: January 26th, 2021

Stronghold: Warlords

The classic castle-based RTS franchise returns with Stronghold: Warlords. This new installment brings the series to the Far East for the first time, and features a wide range of new units and weapons based on Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Mongol technologies from the era.

This includes the introduction of gunpowder to the franchise, along with exotic weapons like hwacha fire arrow launchers, and flaming oxen. The game’s namesake comes from the new Warlord mechanic, which includes AI lords you can recruit to boost your abilities in different aspects of warfare and empire management.

 

Knights of Honor II: Sovereign
Developer: Black Sea Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Knights of Honor II: Sovereign

Another really old franchise getting a new installment is Knights of Honor. In Knights of Honor II: Sovereign, players will have a chance to conquer Europe as one of several historic nations. Build, manage, and expand your kingdom from a turn-based grand strategy view, then swap to real-time tactical battles to defend your territory or crush rival armies that stand in your path.

 

King’s Bounty II
Developer: 1C Entertainment     
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

King's Bounty II

King’s Bounty II is the next game in the long-running and beloved strategy RPG series, and it’s taking a very dramatic new direction over its predecessors.

While its still set in a fantasy world, King’s Bounty II aims to be a more grounded and gritty take on the franchise, with a smaller emphasis on fantastical creatures and magic. The game also features a third-person view during exploration, and a greater focus on storytelling and choices.

 

Iron Conflict
Developer: Angela Game   
Publisher: Imperium Interactive Entertainment Limited
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: January 7th, 2021 (Early Access)

Iron Conflict

Iron Conflict could best be described as a War Thunder or World of Tanks take on the competitive RTS. Each player controls a small group of three units drawn from hundreds of different tanks, aircraft, artillery, and other ground vehicles from WWII, up through the modern era.

Iron Conflict is a team-focused game, with modes consisting of 3v3, 5v5, or 10v10, where players must use teamwork and coordination to complete objectives on the map.

 

We Are The Caretakers
Developer: Heart Shaped Games
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q1 2021

We Are The Caretakers

We Are The Caretakers is a blend of 4X strategy and tactical RPG where you control the titular Caretakers, a team of protectors tasked with conserving the endangered species they rely upon in an afrofuturistic world.

Expand your territory, upgrade your Caretakers, and send them out on missions to save animals or ward off rival factions. Use diplomacy or might to spread your influence, and alter the way other factions react to you.

 

Lord of Rigel
Developer: Rhombus Studios
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Lord of Rigel

Lord of Rigel is a sci-fi 4X about a galaxy locked in an intergalactic cold war. Choose from one of 10 playable races and navigate the cutthroat politics of a galaxy on the edge of total war. Form alliances, sabotage rivals through espionage, discover ancient secrets and technologies, and defend your territory in real-time ship battles when diplomacy fails.

 

Star Dynasties
Developer: Pawley Games
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Star Dynasties

Star Dynasties is another sci-fi grand strategy game being published by Iceberg Interactive this year. What sets Star Dynasties apart is the focus on political intrigue, uneasy alliances, and human drama.

The game is set during a new Dark Age following the destruction of Earth. This catastrophe plunges the known galaxy into a feudal society of rival houses and family dynasties vying for control. Set up a carefully crafted Machiavellian plans that can take decades to grow to fruition, or use brute force to bully lesser houses to do your bidding.

 

Blood Bowl 3
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Publisher: Nacon
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Early 2021     

Blood Bowl III

Cyanide Studio is back with a new version of Blood Bowl, the beloved game of fantasy football in the Warhammer universe.

Blood Bowl 3 was made in close collaboration with Games Workshop to keep it faithful to the new edition of the tabletop game that recently released, to the point that beta keys were being given out with preorders of the starter box. You can expect new teams, revamped and streamlined mechanics, and the same over-the-top brutal interpretation of American football as always.

 

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground
Developer: Gasket Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Early 2021

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground

Now that a lot of people have finally warmed up to Age of Sigmar after the destruction of the Old World by Games Workshop, we are finally starting to see video games that make use of the setting.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is a turn-based tactics game set right after Sigmar threw open the gates of Azyr to unleash his newest creation, the Stormcast Eternals. Lead a customizable warband into the heart of Shyish, as you battle Nagash’s Nighthaunt legions.

 

War Mongrels
Developer: Destructive Creations
Publisher: All in! Games
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Release Date: TBA 2021

War Mongrels

Finally, we come to War Mongrels, the latest game by Destructive Creations. While the developer is perhaps most infamously known for Hatred, they proved with Ancestors Legacy that they actually have a fair bit of talent when it comes to crafting strategy games.

War Mongrels is an isometric tactics game with a heavy emphasis on stealth, not unlike the classic Commandos series. You lead a band of Wehrmacht deserters turned guerilla fighters on their mission to save as many people as possible from the tyranny of the Third Reich.


That’s all for our third batch of articles highlighting some of the promising games coming our way in 2021. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at some of the city building and management titles releasing later this year.

Until then, which of these games are you looking forward to? Are there any other strategy games that you are excited for in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Frank Streva

About

Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.